Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Rant: Bad Training ( I warned you)

Let me tell you a story.

When I was in the Marine Corps, we were encouraged to not raise our hand at the rifle range for help when we had a malfunction. You'd think it was to encourage you to clear your own weapon malfunctions, which is partly true, but not the reason they encouraged this. The reason was that people had gotten their hands shot off in combat because their weapon malfunctioned. They didn't know what to do, so their brain made them do what they had always done when they had a malfunction and didn't know what to do, they raised their hand. Goodbye fingers, hello having the nickname "Lefty."

I'm going to put this in a little bit of context. The average none infantryman in the Marine Corps, which is basically the entire Marine Corps, spends about one week on the shooting range to qualify with their service weapons and hopefully earn some points toward a promotion. Of that week, most of it is spent waiting, waiting to shoot, raising and lowering targets for other Marines in "the pits" and waiting. You might spend 30 minutes in all on the firing line a day, actually firing your weapon and most of that time is spent waiting. Waiting to shoot or waiting for everyone else to finish shooting. For the entire week it's only 2.5 hours of trigger time, maybe. Of that 2.5 hours, you might have three malfunctions or none. If your rifle is in really bad shape (they don't give the good ones to the desk jockeys), or you've decided to not spend any time cleaning your rifle, you might have a malfunction that makes your rifle completely inoperable and you can't fix it. Basically you might spend two minutes raising your hand, so someone can help you fix your rifle, usually a range coach.

This means that this insignificant amount of time in a fairly none stressful environment can cause you to injure yourself in an environment that has almost nothing in common with it besides being surrounded by other Marines and having a rifle. It takes a few minutes to ingrain this habit and it can cripple you when it counts. What do you think is going to happen when you do thousands of repetitions of a bad habit every month?

I hear all the time people say "this is for fighting not self defense, when we're defending ourselves we do X," but they never practice X. They also say "if you can't find a good school just pick out the good stuff from the ones you can find, or train at most decent school."

This isn't possible. You can't switch gears like that and you can't magically undo all the bad stuff you're practicing in class because you don't like it. If you're putting in the repetitions and the training than your brain doesn't care. It doesn't care what you "know."

Training has to be done carefully, it has to be done correctly and it has to be done in the correct context. Bad training can get you killed, crippled or send you to jail. Nothing is ever going to be perfect, but you shouldn't knowingly or unknowingly ingrain bad habits if you plan on staking your life on something, and you shouldn't tell other people to settle or give up when their life might one day be on the line.